Management isn’t natural

Management wasn’t discovered, it was invented! 

“Management: The process of dealing with or controlling things or people” – Wikipedia

Diffusion is natural process, if controlled – it isn’t diffusion; precisely what Management does.

I don’t mean that it’s weird or toxic – just that it doesn’t emanate from nature. “Management” isn’t a tree or a river. It’s a telegraph or a transistor radio. Somebody invented it. And over time, like most inventions – from the candle to the cotton gin to the compact disc – lose their usefulness.

Management is great if you want people to comply – to do specific things a certain way. But it stinks if you want people to engage – to think big or give the world something it didn’t know it was missing. For creative, complex, conceptual challenges – i.e, what most of us now do for a living—40 years of research in behavioral science and human motivation says that self-direction works better. And that requires autonomy. Lots of it.

If we want engagement, and the mediocrity busting results it produces, we have to make sure people have autonomy over the four most important aspects of their work:

Task – What they do

Time – When they do it

Technique – How they do it

Team – Whom they do it with.

After a couple of decades of truly spectacular underachievement, what we need now is less management and more freedom – fewer individual automatons and more autonomous individuals.

Satyam is a Consultant with Infosys Ltd. and editor / founder of marketinomics.com. When he is not talking about Digital Marketing or dreaming of CRM strategies, he can be found on a treadmill. He enjoys travelling, reading and listening to music! Catch up with him on twitter at @xatyam

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